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                                     Hilda Tresz                                                                                                   Global Volunteer Work

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  Egypt first visit general report

Egypt  first follow up report


   Alexandria Chimpanzee Integration.doc


Substrate. Due to the fact that most of the animals are kept on  hard, unyielding surface (concrete, tile, wood floor, etc.), introducing substrate to all  cages is an appropriate first step. It is  a challenge to provide substrate because people smoke a lot and  throw the cigarette butts into the cages creating a  potential fire hazard. The use of appropriate substrate  (inside- paper products and hay or straw,  etc.; outside- nonflammable materials such as sand, soil, mulch,  fresh browse, etc.) will make a significant difference not only in the  animals’ health but would improve the aesthetics of the  exhibits. The substrate  presentation is available both in English and Arabic for all zoos’  convenience.

Browse. All zoos have large amount of edible vegetation  available on grounds that could provide fresh, leafy branches  (browse) at least every 2-3 days but if possible, every day. As mentioned  during the presentations, all zoos can start planting edible trees, bushes  and even crops inside and outside of exhibits, along visitor pathways and  resting areas that will provide future browsing materials for  growing collection demands.  Whether cut by staff  or available by natural damage, fallen vegetation can be used rather  than wasted. The browse presentation  is available both in English and Arabic for all zoos’  convenience.   

    A list of edible plants, toxic  plants by common and scientific names, tree pruning instructions as well  as the Phoenix Zoo’s browse schedule is attached for your convenience. 

3 dimensions to  increase space. In most of  the exhibits/displays, animals can  only use floor space.  Exhibits should utilize  three dimensions by adding large tree trunks, ropes, fire hose,  hammocks, wooden shelves, etc.,  to increase space and to the animals’  opportunities for exercise and exploration. Furniture needs to be built  from wood, ropes or any kind of natural  materials as opposed to metal. Metal is cold in the winter and  hot in the summer, making  it uncomfortable to the animals and potentially  creating medical problems.

Extending foraging time.  All animals (especially in small, unnatural environments) need  to be fed in a way that their foraging time is extended and proper  species-specific behaviors are encouraged. The Contra freeloading  presentation is available  both in English and Arabic for all zoos’ convenience. 
Appropriate  social housing. All animals that are social by nature should be  paired up with their conspecifics. Special attention  needs to be paid to social housing of great apes and other primates.  Please see attached document regarding laws and regulations for social  housing of primates. Animals of social species especially primates,  lions cubs, etc., should not be bred, taken away from their mothers  under age and/or kept isolated for picture taking. If animals are confiscated, they should be  immediately introduced into social groups and an effort to return these animals to their original  country should be attempted.  

Physical abuse of  animals as well as chaining or tethering for picture  taking should stop immediately. It is a serious problem, because this is extra income for the keepers (directly going into their pockets) as well as for  the photographer whom the zoos have a contract with. It was suggested that  instead of taking pictures with animals, keepers  could allow visitors to go inside empty night  houses, permit their children to feel and act as if  they were animals, while taking pictures of the  children for tips.  There are some species that handle  picture taking and human handling better than large mammals. Examples  include small lizards, rabbits, snakes, domestic ferrets, and some birds.  

Flemish rabbit  and domestic ferrets walking around the zoo and interacting with visitors  for picture taking and education purposes.

Roadrunners  interacting with visitors in the education building and visitors can  observe the king vulture flying in the open areas and learn about animals  behavior at the same time.
The zoo or the  GOVS needs to re-evaluate the salary of the staff. It is my understanding that the people rely on the  picture taking method due to the fact that they could not sustain their  every day living lacking it. Without providing a bit more money, it will  be almost impossible to stop the picture taking and the related animal  abuse (chaining, roping, forcing animals to stand at one place for hours  at the time, etc.) and exploitation. The keepers will go behind the management’s back and will try  everything to receive the extra income. 
All zoos need  monetary aid for exhibit renovations. Accounting for  the zoos' financies, it might be necessary to increase the entry fee once  again? Once the old exhibits are renovated, the zoos  could expand their  collections, but  first , all old exhibits should  be brought up to standards. Please review Association of Zoos & Aquariums  (AZA) accreditation standards and South African National Standards and the  Professional Code of Ethics of the African Association of Zoos and Aquaria.  
All animals need to have access to drinking water 24 hours a day from  automatic waterers and proper furniture. Please review  information regarding Lixit Automatic Dog Waterer  for Outdoor Faucets & Spigots   

Gun Dog Supply

Creating picnic  areas for the visitors could provide a  better experience for visitors; they would  not have to sit on the floor or on the curbs and  fences .

Picking up  garbage during the day time should be  incorporated into the staff's daily routine

The zoos should change their smoking policies. The  first step could be creating designated smoking areas (tables,  chairs, ashtrays, garbage cans) for the visitors and direct them to these areas to smoke. Keepers should not  smoke anymore in front of the visitors at all, and absolutely should not  smoke inside the animals' night houses and/or next to the animals.  Keepers need to have designated smoking areas as well but behind the  scenes, out of the visitors’ view and should only smoke during their breaks. 

The keepers’  workload needs to be expanded. I have  observed many keepers sitting on camping chairs and smoking for long  period of times. Instead, they could start rebuilding the empty cages,  putting the right furniture into them, cut browse, plant gardens (corn,  banana and other usable plants), provide enrichment, train their animals  for basic medical and husbandry behaviors, plant edible trees  inside/outside the exhibits for future use and shade, plant grass, paint  the walls of exhibits and night houses, clean the zoo daily and monitor  the visitors' behaviors by telling them not to throw away garbage,  cigarette buts, etc. They should answer the visitors' questions, talking  about their animals' ages, names, behaviors, etc. so the visitors would start learning about them.
Keepers also can do scheduled keeper talks; for example, at the 10:00AM elephant  feeding, keepers could speak to visitors about the elephants.  There can be signs posted in front of the exhibits and at the front  gate advertising the scheduled events.
DNA testing  chimpanzees. In all the zoos, the chimpanzees will need to be DNA tested  and put on birth control, or if they need to be bred, grouped  by proper subspecies.
General  suggestions for elephant care:
One  meter deep sand needs to be added  both inside the night house and onto exhibit
. Elephants cannot be kept on the concrete. It is  very hard on their feet and joints and causes severe medical problems.  
 Besides sand covering the floor, the  elephants need a larger pile of sand (2  meter high) for them to lie down upon.

The animals need to be fed continuously from feeder devices  (metal kegs with holes food inside, hay bags, etc.) and mostly from up high. Hay bags can be woven from ropes. The nets from international cordage are made  specifically for elephants; the zoos would have to contact the company for  all the details about rope, size, etc. The Phoenix Zoo was the first zoo to have them so ours nets were  prototypes. http://www.international-cordage.net/  

  Elephants need to receive large EDIBLE tree branches every  day (please see attached browse list for  elephants).
  The animals should not be chained anymore and picture taking should be  discontinued or at least reduced.
  Tires can be hung from chains as  enrichment.
  Scratching posts  made form palm trees can be chained or secured in any safe way  onto the fence or the poles.

  Large tree logs  (whole trees) can be laid all over  the ground to encourage the animal to step over and around  them, providing  exercise.
  Clay  wallow  can help with proper skin care and  prevent sunburn

  Toys such a large planet balls are available at http://boomerball.com/

 The elephant  presentation is available both in  English and Arabic for all zoos’ convenience
 0.2 Asian and African  elephants. During the 5 elephant presentations all the above mentioned  general suggestions were addressed.  One of the elephants had some  skin care problems on her head.


 For further suggestions regarding  basic foot and skin care, management should contact Heather Wright,  Elephant Manager of Phoenix Zoo at hwright@thephxzoo.com.   
As it was agreed, 1 meter of  sand needs to be placed both inside and  outside of both the Asian  and African elephant holding  areas. Engineering consultant  Dr. Salah Zaki, President of Gardens and Treasures Society, who has been  done many drawings and analysis requests free of charge to the zoo is willing to find solutions to make sure the doorway will not be blocked  with sand in the enclosures.  
It was also suggested to build a metal pole chute  leading to one of the nearby exhibits (only few meters away) that has  lake water so the elephants could go and swim. 

Signage for  Rescue Center. The Giza Zoo should start providing proper signage  by the chimpanzee exhibit explaining to  visitors that it is the only recognized rescue facility and that is th e  reason why some of the animals look unhealthy. In my understanding the  Egyptian people have a low tolerance for animals that look  different (dwarf, sick, physically disabled, etc.). There is a notion  that all sicknesses are transmittable to humans, and therefore, these  animals should be locked away far from human sight and  contact.  Visitors would also criticize the zoo for  mismanagement.  Improved education would  help visitors understand that Giza Zoo did not cause the  unfortunate situations of these animals. On the contrary, the zoo has  rescued them and are trying to help these animals. Moza chimpanzee’s  tumor problem or Kuku’s unusually short limbs could be the first  examples.
Moza and Kuku chimpanzees should  remain at the chimpanzee building so they can have visual and  auditory contact with the larger group. Explaining their situation would  be the first step towards a long education process of what is a rescue  center means.
The 3 babies should be kept together with their surrogate parents at all  times, except for feeding  times IF AND ONLY IF there is a problem with feeding. Bobo needs to  get used to being in a social group. Otherwise, keepers can try to feed  them together, offering food always first to the dominant animal, making  him/her relaxed and then see if the subordinate animals could be fed as  well. If not, then in the morning, the animals can be given a large  breakfast before being put together. Outside the food should  always be chopped into small pieces and scattered. At night, the  chimpanzees can be separated again  ;for feeding. But, in any case,  the keepers need to encourage the animals to eat together peacefully and  try not to separate them at all. The animals should be locked inside only  during the wintertime. All animals should have access outside at  night to only be asked inside in the mornings for a short period of  time so they do not loose the routine of coming inside when asked. If the  animals show signs that they do not wish to be separated (holding the  doors with their foot, hand or hug each other and move away from the  door), then the keepers should not separate them. However, in the  mornings, they should be brought inside for a short period of time and  separated (if possible) so the routine of training will not be lost.  
Substrate and browse should be given  inside and outside every day.  Two bales of straw or hay spread  in 5 cages, plus date palm leaves (thorns removed), newspaper, cardboard  boxes, etc. cages need to be spot cleaned daily and have a  thorough cleaning/disinfection once a week when all leftover materials are removed and new ones are added.
Carnivore  area. The animals at the carnivore  area are housed in substandard conditions. Their cages are too small,  empty and extremely hot.
The Jungle cat could be transferred  into the empty Egyptian goose cage for example.
With switching some animals around,  these problems could be easily resolved. Birds, such as peacock and  geese can be moved out from exhibits too large for them into some of the  hoof stock exhibits such as the ponies, hippos, etc.  
As long as their feathers are clipped there should be no problems. The carnivores could then  be transferred into these closed or half closed exhibits.  
The beautiful pony exhibit could  hold several bird and other hoof stocks, while the peacock exhibits can be  a new home for hyenas or jackals, etc.
The bears are also in dire need of  change. The cages are generally empty with extremely small floor space and  no substrate of any kind. These animals will need to be moved out to  larger areas eventually. In the meantime, they will need to be accessed  inside 24 hours per day (with substrate provided in the night houses) to  increase space and the cage will need to be used in its full capacity of 3  dimensions by adding climbing structures all the way to the ceiling such  as large palm and other (edible) tree logs, wooden benches, ladders,  hammocks, etc. Tires should be hanging from chains and other toys such as  larger balls, plastic barrels, rotting smaller logs, etc., can be added  for enrichment. A general list of bear enrichments is attached for your  convenience.
The same feeding and separating  arrangements can be applied for the 3 males as well. The animals should be  kept together at all times including feeding time unless there are some  difficulties. In that case, they can be separated for feedings and/or  sleeping.  If the animals are fine at night together, then they  should be left together at all times with access to both the  inside and outside cages. First, two animals can be put together, then the  keepers should wait until they settled  down and then let the third one in  as well. 
The animals should be locked inside  only during the wintertime and the side cage (Meshmesh’s old cage  without view) should not be used unless the door is open to the other  two cages at the same time as well.
0.1 Indian elephant is quite old  (close to 70) and not in the best shape. The situation is the same,  concrete, no substrate, no foot work at all, no proper feeding, no browse  and the animal is chained most of the time for picture taking. The  nails need to be trimmed  immediately please. The management is encouraged to contact Heather Wright  Phoenix Zoo  Elephant Manger for further  consultation on foot work. 1 meter of sand  needs to be  placed both inside and  outside of the holding  areas.
I could not go around the zoo due to  time constraints, but the same suggestions would apply to any cages,  exhibits, etc.
I would like to thank  the Management at the Giza and Alexandria  Zoos for inviting me to visit your zoos and work with your  staff to improve animal welfare.   

We have made many improvements,  especially in the chimpanzees’ lives, while initiating basic  husbandry programs.

I would also like to express  my deepest appreciation to Dr. Osama Mahmoud Ahmed Selim and the GOVS, the  Jane Goodall Institute and the Phoenix  Zoo for supporting me in my work and allowing me  the opportunity to be part of this incredible journey.

And last, but not least, many special thanks to Dina Zulficar and for her endless work to  organize this trip and as liaison between all institutions for  all these years.




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